Why closing the gender gap is key to tackling poverty

Kieran Guilbert
Reporter, Reuters
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Leading African female musicians have recorded a video of songs and instrumental music, joining a “Poverty is Sexist” campaign to put women and girls at the centre of the global drive to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

Investing in women and closing the gender gap could reduce hunger, cut maternal and child deaths and boost economies in the world’s poorest countries, according to the ONE Campaign, co-founded by Irish rocker Bono to end extreme poverty and disease.

The video, released on Wednesday, features seven musicians from seven African countries, including Kenya’s Victoria Kimani, South Africa’s Judith Sephuma and Mozambique’s Gambela, alongside Nigerian actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde.

Its release precedes two meetings in June, the African Union Summit and the World Economic Forum for Africa, midway through a year in which world leaders are due to agree new sustainable development goals at the United Nations.

“Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the injustice of poverty and inequality,” Omotola said. “But when we invest in women and girls, we increase and accelerate the chances of overcoming extreme poverty.”

The ONE campaign has also invited people including teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, to take a “#Strengthie”, a selfie in the pose of Rosie the Riveter, face of the famous “We can do it” poster, and post it online in support of girls and women.

A star-studded list of female celebrities including actress Meryl Streep and singers Beyonce and Lady Gaga signed an open letter last month which said empowering women was the key to fighting the world’s inequalities and poverty.

This article is published in collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Foundation trust.org. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Kieran Guilbert is a London-based reporter covering breaking news.

Image: A woman picks tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya’s highlands region west of capital Nairobi, November 5, 2014. KENYA-TEA/ REUTERS/Noor Khamis.

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